ISIS demonstrated resurgent capabilities in nominally secure areas.
Russian warplanes continued to target core ISIS-held terrain in Syria following regime anti-ISIS operations in Homs and Aleppo. Russian airstrikes targeted ISIS’s positions in ar-Raqqa, Homs, and reportedly Deir ez-Zour from November 4 - 5. The majority of Russian strikes, however, targeted rebel-held areas in the provinces of Damascus, Idlib, Latakia, and Aleppo.
Russia continues to leverage its military intervention in Syria to assert its great power status in the Middle East. Following inconclusive multilateral talks in Vienna on October 30, Russia claimed to have conducted airstrikes in direct coordination with the Syrian opposition in order to present itself as a cooperative actor, and possibly to sow distrust among rebel groups. Russia strengthened its military partnership with Iran by closing in on an agreement over a previously-stalled contract to provide S-300 anti-aircraft systems to Tehran.